January 3, 2013

Reclaiming Her Voice: Liz Strauss Takes on Cancer

published this at 11:03 am

By Angel Djambazov

As an entrepreneur you can’t anticipate every obstacle business or life throws your way. And sometimes the curveball thrown impacts both. Which is how I found myself, on the tail end of one of the most beautiful Fall seasons I had experienced in the Pacific Northwest, on a call with the fabulous Liz Strauss. Liz and her son had just finished visiting me in Seattle after completing a successful SOBCon Portland, so I was hardly expecting serious news.

The news Liz had to share was not light. She had been diagnosed with a serious health issue late last year. Now, after connecting with her medical team and having a better sense of what she faces, Liz wanted to share the news with you; her community. What follows is a series of Q&As that I conducted with Liz to help answer your questions about her illness, how she’s handling the ongoing medical treatment, her plans for SOBCon 2013, and what it means to be an entrepreneur facing these challenges.

What can you tell us about your diagnosis?

I have cancer of the larynx. It’s still localized. The analogy the doctor used is that while it was at the threshold of the door it hadn’t gotten to the hallway yet.

How did you find out?

I was scheduled to speak in Hawaii. Eric, my son, went with me. I’d been bothered for quite some time with symptoms that caused me to lose my voice. The doctors said it was allergies and prescribed steroids. I would get a periodic pain in both my throat and my ear. The pain in my ear would come and go and come and go. After five hours on the plane from Honolulu back to the States it was sort of more coming than going.

So I asked a friend in LA to hook me up with her doctor who is an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT). That’s how I found myself in a strange doctor’s office. After putting a camera down my nose, he started showing me pictures and say that we needed to talk about what he’d found. It’s interesting to have pictures in front of your face of something growing on your vocal cords. It was stunning. I didn’t know how to respond.
Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease. What information our healthcare system provides is often contradictory and rarely provides a clear roadmap.

How did you make your roadmap?

I was really lucky. The ENT in LA told me that I needed to get treatment immediately because they were worried my airway was going to close. The options were that I could get this done right there in California or I could go to Chicago and walk into the ER and tell them I can’t breathe, and I have a sore throat. So my first big decision was do I undergo surgery with these two doctors I don’t know in LA or go back to Chicago and take the luck of the draw. In the end, Chicago won out because of the support system that comes with being home.

There are plenty of hospitals. Some of which are good at this particular type of cancer and some of which are not. Finding the one that was good at what you need is important. For instance, one the best hospitals in Chicago has only one specialist in neck and throat cancer. However, the hospital I’m going to has seven people who specialize in neck and throat cancer. And that makes a big difference having access to people who live and breathe a specialty makes a big difference.

Back in LA, the ENT and the radiologist were in agreement that the situation was so serious they were going to have to take my voice box. That meant they would also have to take part of my esophagus out. I’d have to learn how to eat all over again. When I got to Chicago and picked my team they said to me you’re not nearly as far along as folks in LA, well-meaning though they were, would have you believe. We’ve seen people much further along than you are and with chemo and radiation, we’ve seen an 85% rate of success in helping them overcome their cancer. The doctors, their specialty and experience, as well as their bedside manner both make a big difference.

“I remember saying early on to my best friend and my son that I didn’t like the way the disease was progressively turning me into an introvert.”

You have this great outlook on life that everything is an adventure, full of surprises. What surprises has undergoing treatment for cancer brought?

The first thing that comes to mind is just how much the medication is affecting me personally. My body’s response to the drugs has created more mood swings than that of a pregnant elephant. But my biggest surprise was how much time it takes to attend to all the medical stuff that is now part of my routine. It’s kind of like living in a region that gets a lot of snow. You don’t think of how much time cumulatively it requires to take off your coat, put on your coat, take off your boots, put on your boots, cleaning the snow off the car, driving slower because of the weather, all of those adjustments you make in winter, until you live someplace where it doesn’t snow.

I spend a lot of time figuring out which pill to take, what time I take those pills, what pills I need to take next, taking the pills, and trying to remember whether I had taken the right pills, ordering the pills, finding a pharmacy that delivers. Not to mention the process of seeing the doctor, answering the same questions over and over again to the hospital staff. All of the medical stuff has made me focus more clearly on what else I need to get done because of all the precious time it eats up.

Right or wrong there is a stigma that comes with illness. How did you feel your diagnosis would impact your interaction with others?

I didn’t want to start talking publicly about this until I had more information. The challenge is that my work is inherently social. My natural reaction when I want to communicate with someone new about business is to invite them onto a phone call. But the process of communicating becomes clumsier and less effective if I can’t talk.

I noticed early on when I started losing my voice over the past couple of years that there were people who are willing to take the time to listen to what I had to say and those who just had no patience for the obstacle. If people care more about the obstacle than they care about who they are communicating with well that’s kind of an issue. Those people are probably not going to be your friends.

Of course, from my point of view, I didn’t want to stress or stretch people’s patience that far. I remember saying early on to my best friend and my son that I didn’t like the way the disease was progressively turning me into an introvert. I would just make the choice not to talk because trying to talk was either too hard on me or the other person. In retrospect the decision we made not to do surgery and remove my voice box first was the right one. My voice is stronger now than it has been in years.

Faced with such a daunting medical challenge how do you keep moving forward?

My son asked me how I deal with this. too. I take it from the point of view of an international traveler who’s on an extended 90-day trip for business. You can only think about two things: the adventure and what you need to do to catch the next airplane. If you start thinking too much about a whole trip, about the whole string of airports, hotels, transportation, red tape, and try to map out everything you have to do between now and the last day of the trip, you’ll wear yourself out with stress. If you can stay with the adventure mindset, it makes it easier to roll with the things life throws your way.

The first thing is to understand is that you can only do what is humanly possible and to think that you can do more is foolish. You must allow for your humanity. Give yourself room to reflect and think. Stop and do what you need to refill the well so you can keep moving forward. Reach out and to let the people around you help you do that.

“Surround yourself with people who know your goals, share your values, and who are willing to help support you in getting back on your feet again.”

That’s the way I do it. I believe in the people who won’t let me fail. That mindset for me has become really important. We’re going to do what we need to do from one day to the next and I’m going to rely on my team and my close friends to ask the questions I don’t think of.

In staying with the mantra of doing only what is humanly possible, what changes did you have to make in regards to your business?

I had two choices: don’t contribute, which to me was not an option; or, contribute in ways that are useful. If you pay attention you get really good at being efficient and contributing. That also makes it easier to step away when you’re not needed or when someone else is better suited to completing the task. Sort of learning the rule if anybody can do it then maybe anybody should do it.

What was required was a shift of the time workload so the two or three good hours I have a day are spent focused on what I can help get done. I’ve become more useful because I can focus on the strategy of what we’re doing with the business and less time attempting to touch everything. I’m more than just a little bit surprised how natural the changes we’ve implemented feel and find myself asking why weren’t we doing this before. Funny how fast we’ve adapted because necessity dictated it. It’s a new kind of risk-taking for me but everything about entrepreneurial work is about risk-taking.

How does fear impact being an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, one day you think you own the world and the next day you’re losing your house. That’s just the nature of being an entrepreneur. Fear is what makes you better, fear is what keeps you going, and if you can’t face fear every day you are probably not meant to be an entrepreneur.

If I had a job at a corporation I might be able to take time off for disability. A paycheck would still be coming. I might be worried about losing my job but I wouldn’t be worried about not having an income. At least not in the short term the way entrepreneur is.

Here’s one tip: If you are going to get sick, do it at the beginning of the year instead of the end. Because now with the New Year, the $5,000 deductible I finished paying last month needs to be paid again this year. I just want to say to the insurance company, “Oh golly, aren’t you nice.â€?

Luckily I have a best friend who doesn’t mind calling on every insurance claim to say, “Tell me again why you discredited this procedure. If we coded it this way could we get it covered?â€? She actually works with the insurance company to make it easier for me.

Having somebody like that who can help navigate insurance company red tape is priceless. How do you find people around you that won’t let you fail?

I was very lucky to have many of those people around me already. My business partner Terry Starbucker took the news in stride. He not only encouraged me to take care of my health but helped find ways to keep me involved in the important aspects of the business that don’t require me to have my feet or as it were, my voice, on the ground.

I pity the people who try to run their own business and haven’t gathered a support team around them because you need those people around you to tell you that you can’t do everything. Surround yourself with people who know your goals, share your values, and who are willing to help support you in getting back on your feet again. By bringing in those people who won’t let us fail we’re actually doing way better than simply not failing. We’re actually growing in new ways.

With all the inherent risk, why are you an entrepreneur?

I’m an entrepreneur because I can’t understand why people do stupid things. I like to watch people build things. And sometimes I find myself suggesting, if you try to do this thing this way you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money and everyone will be much happier working.

Often when you mention that to a corporation you’ll get responses like, “But we’ve always done it that way.â€? or “We can’t change that because the board or the CEO likes it that way.â€? or “It will take us 6 to 8 months to make that kind of change,â€? even if the change itself is a simple one.

I get frustrated because I don’t like watching people do stupid things.

Traditionally corporations are made to move and manage big groups of people. To achieve a sort of lowest common denominator, low-risk result. I think it’s way more fun to work with fewer people on a team that really wants to get things done. That’s why I’m an entrepreneur.

The risk is that you don’t get all of the benefits that come with the support infrastructure inherent to a corporation. The nine other people who know how to cover your job, the benefits program, the rules that say one of those other people who know how to do your job has to cover for you because you’re on disability for six months.

If my dad got sick and couldn’t run his saloon, well the doors still had to open and somebody had to be there to serve folks. And if that person took something from the cash register or if a fight broke out and someone got hurt my dad ultimately was still responsible. That’s the downside of being entrepreneur; you never really separate yourself from the business.

How would you like to see SOBCon evolve?

Every time you hold an event you take the model and experience you just created as a threshold for the next one. If you’re doing it right each new one is the best event you ever did.

SOBCon is more than the Liz and Terry show. It is all the businesses and ideas that started in that room. It’s all the people who have connected with each other over the years. It’s a hugely clarified network of smart, dedicated people who are serious about building the next generation of businesses online.

SOBConers (the entrepreneurs who attend SOBCon) are developing new methods and models that breakdown the barriers that corporations have built up along the way. I want to enable that. I want that process to happen faster, better, and more meaningfully.

I want to bring the ethos of true collaboration that we have at SOBCon inside the corporation so that the corporations learn to actually collaborate with their customers. Not just touch base with them when there’s a problem or a customer service issue or when there’s a sale, but to actually bring their customers into the process of building their brands. Much in the same way they might currently bring their best third-party vendors into the process. So that businesses can truly become part of all the people who help them thrive.

We’re used to seeing you at various conferences in Q1, when will we see you next?

I’m very much looking forward to SOBCon Chicago 2013. It will be our 10th event. For me it’s going to be a sort of coming out party because I’ll be done with all my treatments by then. Hopefully I will still have all my hair. And I would love it if the folks who have taken part in SOBCon in the past or who read Successful Blog and believe in our vision come out and help me celebrate making it through the crucible.

I won’t be seeing many of you between now and then. You won’t see me at all the parties at SXSW this year. But I do look forward to connecting with people who want to share the SOBCon values. We can have a big opening night party in Chicago to celebrate. I think it’s going to be incredible journey for the next 10 to 12 weeks. I’m so focused on the endgame, which is a fabulous event in Chicago, with the goal of taking an unexpected curveball and turning into something good.

_________________________

Like me, many of you have been helped by Liz’s business acumen and personal generosity. Now is the perfect time to show your support for the vision that is SOBCon and join us for Liz’s coming out party. SOBCon Chicago 2013 takes place at the Summit Executive Center from May 3-5. Hope to see you there; it will be the best one yet!

Author’s Bio:Born in Bulgaria, Angel Djambazov has spent his professional career in the fields of journalism and online marketing. His career path led to online marketing where while working at OnlineShoes he earned the Affiliate Manager of the Year (2006) award at the Affiliate Summit, and In-house Manager of the Year (2006) award by ABestWeb.In 2007 Angel started Custom Tailored Marketing and became the OPM for Jones Soda for which he won his second Affiliate Manger of the Year (2009) award at Affiliate Summit. Angel also was the lead evanglist for PopShops.com which was awarded Best Affiliate Tool (2007 & 2008) award by ABestWeb. In 2010 he won his third Pinnacle Award from Affiliate Summit for Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year.

In 2011 Angel was listed as one of the Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers according to an ImpactRadius survey. He serves as the Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for ReveNews.com and ReveNews.org.

Filed under Interviews, Motivation, Successful Blog | 127 Comments »


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127 Comments to “Reclaiming Her Voice: Liz Strauss Takes on Cancer”

  1. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:14 am
    Ramon De Leon (@Ramon_DeLeon) said

    Liz,

    What strength and courage. Not only in the decision process of what’s next but in sharing your plight with the world. There is no doubt there will be a outpouring of Love and support.

    I brag to the world I know you and there has not been a place the sun shines where someone does not say incredible things about you.

    I read ever word, smiled, cried and opened my eyes to your time of need.

    Your are not alone.

    Love,

    Ramon De Leon

  2. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:15 am
    Jeff Shuey said

    Great article Angel. Thank you to Liz for taking the time to share this challenge. Of course, it’s in your nature to share and to bring all your energy to bear. You and Terry have built something incredible with SOBCon … I will see you in a few months and I look forward to seeing you and the whole SOBCon crew.

  3. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:28 am
    Shannon Paul said

    Thanks for writing this, Angel. Liz, I had no idea — please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  4. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:33 am
    David Griner said

    Excellent Q&A, Angel. My thoughts will be with Liz, who will undoubtedly crush cancer with her signature tenacity and style.

  5. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:35 am
    Angela England said

    I remember how quickly you lost your voice at SOBCon 2011 I attended with Alli. I’m glad they found the problem – I’m glad so glad you followed your instincts and went to your support system and I’m beyond thrilled that your voice is getting stronger. We are here, all of us, behind you. Many hugs and prayers to you.

    Angela <

  6. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:36 am
    Becky McCray said

    Angel, thanks for working with Liz to bring us this update.

    Liz, sending you my very best for the next 12 weeks while you finish your treatments. I *will* see you at SOBCon!

  7. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:38 am
    Peggy Fitzpatrick said

    Praying for you, Liz!

  8. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:42 am
    Eden Spodek said

    Liz, you’re in good hands in Chicago. My brother-in-law is an oncologist specializing in head and neck at U of C and they’re world class. Please let me know if you need anything. Take care.

  9. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:50 am
    Jodi Gersh said

    Angel – this was a really well done way to share Liz’s news with her community.

    Liz- my thoughts are with you. I know you will kick cancers butt and I will plan to see you in Chicago!

  10. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:57 am
    Ali Davies said

    Liz, sending you a tonne of good wishes and support.

  11. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:58 am
    Connie Burke said

    A most fitting way to let your community know this SOBering news – thank you, Angel, for writing it. And thank YOU, Liz, for sharing with us in a way that’s oh-so-you and helps us see things a little differently (as always). Sending good, healing thoughts. I’m just a quick drive down I-94 should you need anything at all. We will most certainly celebrate SOBcon’s 10th anniversary. Take good care, my friend.

  12. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:59 am
    Christopher S. Penn said

    Liz, best wishes and positive energy for swift healing!

  13. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:01 pm
    Lee Carey said

    Angel, thank you for the update.
    Liz, can’t answer for followers, but friends will listen.

  14. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    Kellye Crane said

    Wow, I’m sitting here thinking of all the times in recent years when I’ve seen you without your voice, Liz. I’m glad they’ve identified the problem, though I’m so sorry to hear about the difficult challenges you’re facing.

    It’s so like you to turn this into a lesson we can all learn from! I love your adventure mindset — very wise words that I plan to carry forward with me. Thoughts and prayers are with you (and you will be equally fabulous with or without hair!).

  15. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    Yvonne DiVita said

    Great post! I felt shocked, then relieved – because I just can’t imagine social media without Liz, and it’s clear she’s here to stay! I applaud Liz for sharing this – for giving ‘voice’ to her health issues and her business focus. This post is more telling than she may realize. My best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  16. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    Rediscovering Your Voice | lynette {radio} : broadcasting my brain said

    [...] google_color_text = "000000"; google_color_bg = "FFFFFF"; google_color_url = "008000"; I met Liz Strauss in person last year for the first (and only so far) time. Like many, I have long been an admirer [...]

  17. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    Kathryn said

    Much love & hope coming your way Liz. Please let me know if you need anything.

  18. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    Chel said

    Love you. Please ask if you need anything.

  19. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:14 pm
    Mike Mueller said

    Liz –
    You have an incredible army of people out here sending you a tsunami of positive thoughts.
    You will win this!
    <3 !

  20. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    Berni Xiong (shUNG) said

    Angel, thank you so much for the beautiful post.

    Liz, love ya lady. Wishing you a speedy recovery and lots of warmth and love to strengthen you through this time.

    I was planning on attending my first SobCon this year and now I have all the more reason to.

  21. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:26 pm
    Alli Worthington said

    Thank you for this, Angel.

    Liz, you are so loved. Wishing you strength and fast healing. I’ll be there to hug you in Chicago for SOBcon!

  22. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:32 pm
    Jane Boyd (@boydjane) said

    Angel – thank you for writing this article. Liz – I send you my love and support as you finish your treatments. The SOBCon community is with you all the way on this. I can’t wait to see you in May – I will, of course, be in Chicago for SOBCon :) What a party it will be!

  23. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:36 pm
    @BarbaraJones said

    Liz you have been on my mind SO much lately and maybe this is why. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but I know the fighter that you are and the support system you have around you that is unparalleled. If there is anything that I can do to help you or Eric or anything you need at all, please please let me know. You are one of a kind and I know for one thing, I’ll be at your party at SobCon in May that is for sure!! xoxoxo

  24. January 3rd, 2013 at 12:53 pm
    Jeannie Walters said

    Angel, great job with this update and thank you for doing this. Liz, there is not much to say here except to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you the very best. Really appreciate you sharing this with your community.

  25. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Deb Ng said

    You have all my best, good, positive wishes, Liz. Please let me know if you need anything at all.

  26. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:04 pm
    Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib) said

    Liz, Thank you for inspiring us even at a time of personal health challenges. Look forward to seeing you soon and best wishes for a recovery.

    Angel- As always you are amazing. Thank you for this post.

    Shashi

  27. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:08 pm
    Chris said

    Sorry to hear of your struggles. But, SXSW 2014 will still have your room available here in Round Rock. By then you will be able to look back and we can discuss how this experience has affected you. Sheila will be a SOBcon to party in my stead. Stay strong.

  28. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    Char said

    My thoughts are with you Liz!

  29. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    Miguel Salcido said

    Great post Liz and Angel, thank you for opening up. My family has been caring for a stage 4 breast cancer patient for the past few months and alot of what you said resonated and was SO true of her/our experience. Keep fighting!

  30. January 3rd, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    David Dalka said

    Liz – I wish you a full and speedy recovery.

    Sincerely,
    David Dalka

  31. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:02 pm
    Shawn Collins said

    Sending prayers your way, Liz.

  32. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:04 pm
    Jeff Sass said

    Liz, you have my warmest of thoughts for the speediest of recoveries… I, as many, will be thinking of you.

  33. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:12 pm
    Iconic88 said

    Hi Liz! all the best positive vibrations being sent to you from Australia ;) We wish you and your family/friends the courage and strength towards a full and happy recovery.

    Thoughts and prayers,
    Mahei
    @iconic88

  34. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    Amy Korin said

    Liz, I love the way you turn challenges into opportunities and keep smiling throughout.

    I wish you a speedy recovery and many beautiful sunrise filled days ahead. I’ll be thinking of you, as will the entire SOBCon community.

    xo
    Amy

  35. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    Kat Gordon said

    There are so many good takeaways in this piece, about facing uncertainty and about making a good game plan, no matter the circumstances. I am sending Liz healing thoughts.

  36. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:27 pm
    Amber Porter Telfer said

    I was just thinking about you yesterday — I kid you not! About how much I’ve gathered from the few times we’ve spoken and the lessons you share via this blog. Wishing you all the best healing energy as you fight this! Please let me know if I can help with anything.

  37. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    Josh Patrick said

    Liz, I went through a similar situation four years ago. I didn’t feel well and nothing seems to make it better. I kept going back to the Dr., but he started to think that I was a hypochondriac.

    Finally, a big enough event happens where someone in the medical field takes you seriously. There’s the choice of which test to get….I choose the expensive one for a change. Then, the phone call comes, the one that changes our life for ever.

    I wish you the best in your cancer treatment. Here are a few things I learned from my adventures in cancer world:

    1. You already know this, but have a great care giver. Cancer is much harder on them than it is on you.
    2. Say yes to drugs. You’ll feel lousy enough with all the drugs you can take, so you might as well make it less if possible.
    3. Speak out about what’s going on. Letting others know how you feel brings support and we all need support going through the adventures of cancer.
    4. Be your own advocate. It’s almost inevitable. There are going to be mistakes made during your treatment. Trust your gut and question strongly when you think things are not being done properly….They’re usually not.
    5. Be ready for cancer world to extend past treatment. In many respects side effects of treatment can be more annoying than the treatment itself. Often you’ll have side effects way after treatment ends. It’s part of the price.

    Good luck and if you need a conversation with someone who’s been through it, even if it’s through a keyboard, I’m here. You’re in my thoughts.

  38. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    Allen Mireles said

    Liz, I am so sorry to read of your illness but absolutely inspired by your outlook. Much love to you as you heal.

  39. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:56 pm
    Kelly Olexa said

    Thinking of you and praying for you. I’m here in whatever way I can help.
    ((((hugs))))

  40. January 3rd, 2013 at 2:59 pm
    Jennifer Devitt said

    Praying for you Liz!

  41. January 3rd, 2013 at 3:07 pm
    Paul O'Mahony (Cork) said

    Liz Strauss you are great – your voice is a power for good – as so many have experienced. I love your being, your way of transforming the game.
    Come hell or high water I’ll swim from Cork to your side at SONCon in May.
    It’ll be an honour to greet you.
    Angel – you are a star, a great friend.
    It just goes to show how vital it is to live like Liz – with love for community, true grit & the telephone.
    Big big hugs

  42. January 3rd, 2013 at 3:09 pm
    Ananda Leeke said

    Liz,

    Sending you love and light. You continue to inspire me. Much love.

    Ananda

  43. January 3rd, 2013 at 3:25 pm
    Lisa Larranaga said

    Hi Liz!

    We were very lucky to have you come speak at Cision a few years ago & have been excitedly following your posts & appearances since then. We wish you the easiest route to “refilling the well” and send you many get well wishes.

    Best,
    Lisa Larranaga
    Cision NA

  44. January 3rd, 2013 at 3:48 pm
    mckra1g said

    Liz, you lead by way of example and your ethos saturates the network and community you’ve built.

    I have a vision of you in the middle of a bunch of mirrors radiating in all directions and the love you’ve given out to your community is reflected back to you in thousands of ways.

    Be well. L, M.

  45. January 3rd, 2013 at 5:06 pm
    Jim Connolly said

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Liz.

  46. January 3rd, 2013 at 5:45 pm
    Scott Schablow said

    Wow, Liz. Just Wow. I had no idea until this moment –many thanks to Angel for creating such an informative Q&A. I’m always amazed at what you do and accomplish. Now I’ll be amazed and inspired. Sending prayers of healing your way. Stay strong!

    Scott Schablow

  47. January 3rd, 2013 at 6:02 pm
    Ekaterina Walter said

    Liz,
    you are in our prayers. We love you and are humbled by your courage. You are not alone, we are here for you.
    with much love,
    E

  48. January 3rd, 2013 at 6:19 pm
    Ellen Cagnassola said

    Liz
    Show no mercy & put cancer in its place!
    I wish you a speedy recovery. In the toughest of times I hear my moms voice saying ” this too shall pass” it always quiets the fear for me.

  49. January 3rd, 2013 at 6:47 pm
    Sheila Scarborough said

    Little screwed-up cell bastards! Go get ‘em, Liz. I love you and eat your vegetables. :)

  50. January 3rd, 2013 at 7:04 pm
    Des Walsh said

    Sending virtual hugs and heartfelt wishes for a full and speedy recovery, dear Liz.

    And thanks Angel for helping Liz share her very distressing but already inspiring story.

  51. January 3rd, 2013 at 7:07 pm
    Suzie Cheel said

    Hi Liz,

    Sending you love,healing energy and light.You can heal yourself. As Sheila says eat those veggies and fruit. It is amazing as I have found over the past year the power of food as medicine. I have been amazed and so have the Drs. Yes drugs are draining in so many ways and I love your snow analogy
    Love you and shout out is I can help in any way, I am only a skype call away. Suzie xxoo

  52. January 3rd, 2013 at 7:37 pm
    Julie Vazquez said

    Great interview Angel & best of luck to you Liz!

  53. January 3rd, 2013 at 8:13 pm
    Steve Finikiotis said

    Angel, thank you for the poignant piece.

    Liz, your fierce commitment to focusing on what matters is inspiring. I’m relieved to hear that you’re in good hands. Godspeed on your healing journey.

    Steve

  54. January 3rd, 2013 at 10:22 pm
    Mila Araujo said

    To come here and see this news is stunning – Liz, you know you have the love and admiration of so many – you’re a remarkable woman – I’m at a loss for words having just read this.

    Angel, you conducted this interview / story wih Liz incredibly. Liz’s incredible leadership and inspirational qualities as well as her straight shooting business brilliance shines through even in this incredibly challenging time – thank you for writing this so beautiully with Liz.

    Liz, sending you love and good vibes. Knowing you, cancer better watch out- you’ll be kicking its ass.

    Big hugs & admiration.

  55. January 3rd, 2013 at 11:44 pm
    Gavin Heaton said

    Sending healing energy and positive thoughts. Looking forward to hearing of your speedy recovery!

  56. January 4th, 2013 at 3:02 am
    Sean Fleming (@flemingsean) said

    There’s not much I, like everyone else I guess, can say. Except that my thoughts are with you Liz.

  57. January 4th, 2013 at 3:11 am
    How YOU Can Support @LizStrauss & SOBCon said

    [...] now you may have read the post written by Angel Djambazov about Liz Strauss, the Founder of SOBCon.  It is a moving, open and to the point post about the [...]

  58. January 4th, 2013 at 7:18 am
    shira abel said

    OMG Liz I have been so busy that I have completely lost touch. I’m so so sorry for what you’re going through. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    Big hugs,
    Shira

  59. January 4th, 2013 at 7:25 am
    Dwayne Kilbourne said

    Wishing you improved health and recovery in 2013! Keep fighting!

  60. January 4th, 2013 at 7:48 am
    Mary Couzin said

    Liz,

    Although I haven’t had cancer, many of my friends and immediate family have and your roadmap and advice is spot on.

    Prayers and positive thoughts for a continued successful fight.

    Mary

  61. January 4th, 2013 at 8:21 am
    peter bordes said

    we wish you all the best and thoughts and prayers from your friends at #TheLabNYC :)

  62. January 4th, 2013 at 8:33 am
    George Krueger said

    You’re a true champion, Liz. Thanks for sharing your story with us and showing us how to be brave. Mary-Lynn and I love you dearly for so many things, but most of all your generous spirit. And I still shave regularly :)

  63. January 4th, 2013 at 8:39 am
    Judy Martin (@judymartin8) said

    Angel,
    Thanks for taking the time to offer such a thorough and real interview. It was a bit of a shocker to read. But many of us are grateful to better understand.

    Liz, Thanks for sharing such an intimate journey. Teaching as always – even in the face of the recovery process. My thoughts are with you. Much love and gratitude, Judy

  64. January 4th, 2013 at 8:43 am
    Danielle Smith said

    Thank you so much for this, Angel.

    Liz… as always, I’m inspired by your strength and delighted that you are surrounded by such an incredible support system.

    I could hear your voice so clearly in this piece…a credit to both you and Angel… I will be thinking about you and sending love and healing your way.

  65. January 4th, 2013 at 9:02 am
    Liz Olimpio said

    Wow, so inspiring Liz! My mother in law, also named Liz (I know lot’s of Liz’s) was just diagnosed with cancer. I will be sure to share your interview, especially the part about how you move forward! Thanks so much Angel for sharing Liz’s story with us!

  66. January 4th, 2013 at 9:55 am
    Mary Kay Russell said

    Liz, Thanks for sharing your courageous and intimate journey, and for what might be one of your greatest teachings, among so many. You are truly an inspiration. Sending positive thoughts and healing energy for your speedy recovery. ~ Mary Kay Russell

  67. January 4th, 2013 at 11:16 am
    Kneale Mann said

    Angel, thank-you for sharing this. Liz, sending boatloads of love and hugs. Now go get better! XO

  68. January 4th, 2013 at 11:36 am
    AnnOhio said

    Liz,
    I came across a random post from a friend on Facebook and followed the path to hear. I’m not going to lie, my eyes filled up with tears reading about what has been happening in your life. Sending you huggin’ the stuffin’ hugs and healing and positive thoughts.

    Ann

  69. January 4th, 2013 at 11:54 am
    Lisa D. Jenkins said

    Liz, whatever you need, if it’s within my power, it’s yours for the asking along with prayers for peace, healing and strength. You lovely, lovely woman.

  70. January 4th, 2013 at 12:12 pm
    Zena said

    The best way to hear not so good news…from Angel’s thoughtful questions come your prose-filled answers. Prayers, good vibes and virtual hugs coming your way from KC!

  71. January 4th, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    Dayngr said

    Liz,

    You are in my prayers. Sending healing thoughts and big hugs your way.

  72. January 4th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    Tiffany Monhollon said

    Liz – You have been a source of inspiration for me in my blogging journey and I hope you know what an impact you have! Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  73. January 4th, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    Charlene Blohm said

    Angel – Thanks much for letting sharing this news in such an informative and passionate manner.

    Liz – There’s a few thousand of us out here who will gladly be your “voice” if needed. We’ve got your back! Best of luck with the treatments.

  74. January 4th, 2013 at 6:03 pm
    Chris Tracey said

    Liz your positivity and spirit shine through in this interview with Angel. Inspired and inspiring. Thinking about you and sending you every good wish for a full and speedy recovery.

  75. January 4th, 2013 at 8:47 pm
    Lisa Gates said

    Thanks Angel…and Liiiiiizzzz, I’m sending all my love and well wishes. You helped me on my long journey, and I’m clearing my schedule for Sobcon 2013. We all want to hear you loud and clear.

    LOVE

  76. January 4th, 2013 at 10:45 pm
    Michael Martine said

    I remember times when you lost (or were about to lose) your voice and I just thought it was because you were talking so much.

    You’re an inspiration to me and many others. I wish you the best and hope your treatments and recovery goes smoothly.

  77. January 5th, 2013 at 1:45 am
    Jesse Stoner said

    Although we’ve never connected, Liz, I’ve been a big fan of your blog and a faithful reader. I’m so sorry to learn of your illness and am sending prayers for a full and speedy recovery.

  78. January 5th, 2013 at 1:16 pm
    Dave Lutz said

    Liz, you’re an inspiration to me and many others. My prayers are with you for a speedy and full recovery.

    Dave Lutz

  79. January 5th, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    Robyn McMaster said

    Liz, I pray for your recovery. The way you have handled this “daunting medical problem” is a real inspiration to me. You said, “You can only think about two things: the adventure and what you need to do to catch the next airplane.” Ever since I have known you, you have sought adventure and the next airplane! Do keep it up!

    Robyn

  80. January 5th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
    Jerry Hirsch, said

    Liz, Thank You for sharing your Journey and the Light and Love You Always Generate.
    May Your Positive Energy Radiate and Gift You with All The Tools Necessary For A Full Recovery.

    Sincerely,
    Jerry Hirsch

  81. January 5th, 2013 at 7:08 pm
    Mack Collier said

    Liz I’m so sorry to hear this but so grateful for your positive attitude that will help you greatly in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and please let me know if I can help!

  82. January 6th, 2013 at 9:45 am
    Carol Tice said

    Sending you healing vibes!

    And wishing you what we Jews call refuah sh’lemah–complete healing of body and soul.

    I know you will transform this into powerful insights that only make you and all of us grow-like when you had all of us give your talk at Sobcon.

  83. January 6th, 2013 at 11:00 am
    Julie Olian said

    Liz:
    “Cancer Perk” has become our family’s reference to the learning, sharing, perspective and strength that grew from the battle. Looking back, it brought us closer than I thought possible, and refocused our journey to more clearly live what is truly important.

    Please know you’re supported by an army of friends and admirers!

  84. January 6th, 2013 at 11:25 am
    Angel Djambazov said

    Thank you all for the kind words. It was a real privilege to write the article. Having someone as fabulous as Liz, with such a clear voice, share so openly makes it easy. As her health allows we do plan to do follow up pieces so stay tuned.

    Looking forward to every one of you at SOBCon Chicago in May.

  85. January 6th, 2013 at 11:50 am
    Amanda Bucklow said

    I am very moved by your clarity about surrendering to the process of getting well. I am sure it will make all the difference. There are many ‘wellness warriors’ in your orbit and I add my wishes for your positive journey towards recovery.

    Thinking of you,
    Amanda

  86. January 6th, 2013 at 2:04 pm
    Monique Attinger said

    Liz – It’s been a long time since I dropped by your blog or exchanged emails / comments with you… I just heard through Twitter that you’re dealing with cancer of the larynx. I’m sorry that this is happening for you, and I am sending thoughts and prayers. Your positive attitude and energy are your best assets in this challenge. I believe this is simply a speed bump on your road….

  87. January 6th, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    Maris Callahan said

    Sending you good thoughts and healing vibes, Liz. I admire your strength and courage and wish you a speedy recovery!

  88. January 6th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
    Catherine said

    Thank you, Liz and Angel. I’m crossing my fingers for you and hope you make a speedy recovery.

  89. January 6th, 2013 at 7:51 pm
    Aruni Gunasegaram said

    Just hearing/reading about this. Good luck Liz! You always seem to meet every challenge with the strength/grace that most people can never muster. Your words are gems and I can’t even imagine the words of wisdom that you will be able to impart during and after this part of your life’s journey.

  90. January 7th, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    Kathy Snavely (@ProfS) said

    You have my prayers and faith, Liz. I’m married to a 5x cancer survivor – you can do it too!!

    Your Utz Potato Chip Pal,
    Kath

  91. January 7th, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    Liz Strauss: The Voice of an Extreme Leader said

    [...] your values, and who are willing to help support you in getting back on your feet again.”  (Read Angel Djambazov’s full interview with her here)  I’m confident that she’ll be in good, strong, physical voice again [...]

  92. January 7th, 2013 at 7:14 pm
    Neena said

    You continue to be an inspiration to those that follow you – both in business and in personal life. Best wishes for a fast recovery.

  93. January 7th, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    Toby Bloomberg said

    dear Liz – sending heartfelt prayers and lots of virtual hugs your way. here for you.

  94. January 8th, 2013 at 1:28 am
    Margie Analise said

    Thank you for sharing such a private part of your life Liz. Inspiring and selflessly thinking of others through this time – what an amazing soul you are.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family as you go through this ‘adventure’, to be restored and renewed when it’s done.

  95. January 8th, 2013 at 9:50 am
    Jack said

    Lifting u up Liz. ;)

  96. January 8th, 2013 at 10:19 am
    Naomi said

    Your pragmatism and ineffable spirit are, as always, a total inspiration. I am looking forward to watching you beat this.

  97. January 8th, 2013 at 12:04 pm
    Jim F. Kukral said

    Wow, you’re very brave Liz. I just found out about this and I’m shocked! I’m so glad to hear though that you are getting treated for it and you have a great attitude about it.

    You are an inspiration for us all. If there is ever anything I can do for you you know to just call. My prayers are with you and your family.

    God bless,

    Jim

  98. January 8th, 2013 at 12:04 pm
    Erno Hannink said

    Thank you Angel for the update.
    Wishing you strength for the rest of the treatment Liz!
    Not sure if I will be at SOBCon 2013, but we will see each other again.

  99. January 8th, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    Marti said

    Thank you, Angel, for this update. Dearest Liz, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you will overcome this challenge! God bless you, darlin’.

  100. January 8th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    Betsy Kent said

    Thank you so much for this.

    Liz, I have been so focused on being an entrepreneur, this is the first time I heard about your illness. I am most certainly going to be attending the big party and I can’t wait!
    Here’s to SOBcon and the people who won’t let you fail.
    Be Strong. I know you are.

    Betsy

  101. January 8th, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    Karl Staib said

    Liz, you’ve been an inspiration to me for many years. I know that you will fight and win this battle. I too had cancer. It was stage 1 testicular cancer. I caught early too and I’m cancer free for 2 years now. Stay strong and if you need anything I’m here.

  102. January 8th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
    Gene Dexter said

    Well done. Happy to see this out the way Liz wants it. All the best with recovery!

  103. January 8th, 2013 at 8:44 pm
    Barbara Vogel said

    Your bravery, spirit,forthrightness and eloquence are an inspiration, Liz. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and good health.

  104. January 8th, 2013 at 9:54 pm
    Sandy Renshaw said

    Liz,
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers. You’re an inspiration to many. Miss you.

  105. January 8th, 2013 at 11:37 pm
    Jill Koenig said

    I am keeping you in my prayers, Liz.

    Live Your Dreams,

    Jill

  106. January 9th, 2013 at 10:46 am
    Mike Henry Sr. said

    Praying for you Liz, and looking forward to your victory. Mike…

  107. January 9th, 2013 at 11:30 am
    Brad Shorr said

    Heartfelt prayers, Liz.

  108. January 9th, 2013 at 1:07 pm
    Society Manjit said

    It took me a little time to register that is about Liz, and then the first reaction is shock – but then when I got to read the interview with Liz, it just reinforced what I know about Liz – one beautiful ball of belief and bounce. Our life is not what we catch but what we throw out into the world, and Liz has been throwing wonder and wisdom into the world, now she needs to think about Liz – because Lord knows she is a rare bird that thinks so much of others. All the best.

    M.

  109. January 9th, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    Khadijah M. Britton said

    LIZ! My beloved mentor and friend. I am sending you so much love and STRENGTH to get through the remainder of your treatment. Am so relieved they figured out what was wrong and acted before it was too late – the world needs your voice and I, for one, cannot wait to hear it again!!! I will come to SOBCon this year to celebrate you, just let me know if there’s anything I can do in the meanwhile. Sending you the deepest, most soul-affirming hug of your LIFE.

    Love,

    Dijah.

  110. January 9th, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    Lynn Ponder said

    Dearest Liz,
    You take inspiration to another level of giving people fortitude and a lesson of understanding life situations no matter good or bad.

    Please know that my prayers are with you and your son.

    Love,
    Lynn

  111. January 9th, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    Malla Haridat said

    Oh wow! My prayers and thoughts are with you and a huge hug for being open and sharing your story!! Balancing your decisions while being an entrepreneur is not an easy one. But we celebrate your strength, your decisions and will send virtual applause to you at SOBCon.

  112. January 9th, 2013 at 11:33 pm
    Stacey Hoffer Weckstein said

    Liz, You are in my heart and prayers. I can feel all of the positive loving healing energy that continues to surround you. I’m just a few miles away if you need ANYTHING.

    Stacey

  113. January 10th, 2013 at 12:33 pm
    Dr. Mollie’s Musings 1-10-13 said

    [...] This week’s camp was a blast! I get giddy seeing adults playing to their strengths while guiding our youth to own, grow, and share their unique lights. #GoodStuff [...]

  114. May 23rd, 2013 at 2:36 pm
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    [...] runs successful-blog.com. She’s currently taking on the challenge of cancer. Best [...]

  115. June 12th, 2013 at 2:35 pm
    Do Something Nice (And Get a Reward) said

    [...] is currently undergoing treatment for throat cancer. She’s written about dealing with that process — it’s a post that anyone working on their own needs to read. As entrepreneurs, health [...]

  116. June 14th, 2013 at 7:11 am
    A Tribute to Liz Strauss said

    [...] October 2012, Liz was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer. As Liz battled to stay alive, the pictures stopped coming. The hole that was left by her absence [...]

  117. June 17th, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    Linda Sherman Gordon (@LindaSherman) said

    Very inspiring Liz. Thank you. I am sharing with a friend fighting ovarian cancer.

  118. June 21st, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Liz Strauss Supported Us for Years ~ Now She Needs Our Support said

    [...] encourage you to read Liz’ story Reclaiming Her Voice: Liz Strauss Takes on Cancer.  Then find a way to help. Liz needs money for health costs most of all. Here are ways you can [...]

  119. June 22nd, 2013 at 10:17 pm
    ConnieFoggles said

    Thanks to Gail at GrowMap I just learned about what’s happened to you, Liz. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are an inspiration to me. I still remember the day we met – about 4 years ago. God bless.

  120. September 12th, 2013 at 4:00 am
    Learning from the Best: Social Media Power Users Marketing Habits said

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  121. September 12th, 2013 at 10:04 am
    Learning from the Best: Social Marketing Habits of 6 Power Users said

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  122. September 19th, 2013 at 7:09 pm
    Five Lessons Small Businesses can Learn from Liz Strauss | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog said

    [...] at the way this blog has been running for the past several months. Liz’ health situation was announced at the beginning of 2013. The last post I read, as I drafted my own, was dated May 10, 2013. [...]

  123. September 23rd, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers said

    [...] Liz Strauss. Liz runs successful-blog.com. She’s currently taking on the challenge of cancer. Best [...]

  124. November 18th, 2013 at 4:51 am
    Las 50 personas más influyentes del Social Media en 2013 según la revista Forbes | Webempresa20 - Internet orientado a resultados said

    [...] Liz Strauss. Liz dirige successfull-blog.com. Actualmente está luchando contra el cáncer. Nuestros mejores deseos. [...]

  125. January 20th, 2014 at 10:56 am
    Reclaiming Her Voice: Liz Strauss on Overcoming Cancer and the Future of SOBCon | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog said

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  126. February 10th, 2014 at 1:14 pm
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  127. August 18th, 2014 at 5:21 pm
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